Sunday, March 22, 2009

The view from up here.

While it was supposed to be warmer than it turned out to be on Sunday, it was just warm enough to start some preliminary clean-up from the ravages of winter out in the back and front of the house. Cleaning out leftover leaves that seem to gather in a certain corner where the garage juts out from the rest of the house, composting them, and some general other clean-up duties. There is one task however, that I decided needed to be done sooner rather than later.

One of the advantages of having my house situated where it is, is that since we are on the highest point in the county, flooding is not something we worry about. We let the folks way down the hill from us take that upon their heads. This means that as a result of our choice of location, we were not required to purchase flood insurance, which is something mandatory for many folks here, especially those that have homes near the Genesee River, which is only a few miles away.

Location, location, location, is the business mantra. We made a good choice for us when we moved in almost seven years ago, save for one tiny issue:

Wind.

I don't mean gentle breezes. I mean big, brutal, "We're not in Kansas anymore Toto." winds. This area of NY State is, on the whole, rather flat. Yes, the hills become more prominent the further south you go, but we are definitely not in a mountainous region of the state. Hence, there aren't a lot of trees on my property to act as wind breaks. I actually only have three in the front yard, and they aren't really even big enough to stop much of anything. So, when the cold winter, or warm summer winds from storms come barreling through, they can cause damage.

Specifically, they can cause damage to my roof.

One of the early skills I needed to learn as a home owner was taught to me by my father-in-law, who had the audacity to actually build his own home in Buffalo in the mid-60's.

Show-off.

But I digress. Since he had these particular skills, he was able to pass on the knowledge of how to replace roofing shingles. Now, I grew up in apartments my whole life, where when something went wrong, you called up the "super," and waited for the offending issue to be taken care of while you went about your daily business. Ah, not so as a homeowner, as I quickly found out that I was the super. For me, the only reason for going up on the roof back-in-the-day, was to take a girl up to admire the view from the top of my 33-story building where I grew up, before admiring the view she had to offer.

Let's get back to the wind. On the occasions when the winds can whip through here at upwards of 50-60 mph, it means that come spring, I make my annual trip up to my roof, (sans girl) to see what hath been wrought upon me by mother nature. Also fortunate for us, we have a low-pitched roof, which makes navigating up there far easier.

Last Sunday I completed that task, and much to my surprise, only one shingle had to be replaced.
Yep, that dark patch in the center was the site of the missing shingle, which, incidentally, I found in my backyard during a lull in the snowfall. The roof was in surprisingly good shape, and we had some truly wicked winds come through this winter. I spent a total of about 15 minutes, inspecting the roof and replacing the shingle.

While up there, I always like to take the time to look around from the top. It's a nice little view. We live near the airport, so I can always watch the planes taking off and landing, as we are in the landing pattern on certain occasions.

Yeah, it's not the most glorious of views, but it beats staring into neighbors windows, hundreds of them in the housing complex where I grew up. In general, I didn't give a crap what was happening in their apartments...unless of course, there was a girl in the window.

But I'm not going to go there.

7 comments:

jay said...

Living here on the edge of the East Anglian fens, we know ALL about vicious winter winds! 50-60 mph winds are commonplace and they often reaches much higher speeds.

Folk further out in the fens grow tall hedges of trees, or put up very strong board fences - with trees inside them, to shelter their little patch. You can tell where the scattered houses are by the little squares of greenery dotted about the landscape - often all you can see of the house itself is the chimney. Of course, the real, hardy, original fen farmers don't bother. They just let it rip - and they'll tell you that trees 'spoil the voo'.

Our own garden has fifteen foot conifers on the north side of the property. The most viciously cold winds come from the north, or north east, hereabouts. Literally straight from Siberia at times, with not much between to stop them.

Glad you weathered the winter without much damage! So did we!

Peter said...

A job well done: I wouldn't dare climb on my roof.

Strangely enough, I get somewhat similar issues living near a 500 yard wide river in downtown Antwerp:
the wind can be relentless in combination with our infamous rain.

Watching the pictures from your neighborhood makes me miss suburbia, the place where I grew up.
I wish I could return there, but wildly inflated real estate prices have turned that into a $400,000 dream I will never be able to afford.

Mr. Nighttime said...

Jay - Oh, fences! You just reminded me that I have to shore up one side mine in my backyard. We reset the post of one section (stockade-style fencing) last year, but the other sections still need work. Just like you, those winds have been known to go higher than 60 mph as well, but that doesn't happen often.

Peter - I know what your saying about inflated housing prices, though the opposite has been happening here of late. The housing debacle has not hammered Rochester as it has other parts of the country, even other parts of the state. The housing market here is actually pretty stable. We actually just refinanced our home, as the interest rate fell to 4.3%, and we went from a 15-year mortgage to a 10 year one (fixed). We originally bought the house in 2002 on a 30-year fixed at 7.5%, so we're in a lot better shape.

You can still see plenty of houses in the price range you quoted up here, but you'll find those in the tonier suburban towns, not mine.

Violet said...

So many cheesy 60's pop songs are in my head from this post at the moment!

And THANK YOU for replacing that eyeball.

Mr. Nighttime said...

VS - You never know when it might show up again...MWAHAHAHA!!

Guyana-Gyal said...

Speaking of what's happening in a window, that reminds me of Friends, how they used to peer at the fat, naked man.

And the movie, Sliver.

You're right about owning a home and repairs. It can be a pain, I grumble sometimes about our old family home and the repairs it needs sometimes. But I know that owning a home, with leaky roof and all, is sure better than living on the streets.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Oh, the nice part about living here...you can get a good carpenter for less than you'd pay elsewhere. Leaky roof gone! Funny thing is though, the very rich here are so mean about paying tradesmen.